Against one of the best pitchers in the country, No. 24 Miami was in control.
The Hurricanes throttled projected first-round MLB Draft pick Brady Singer for three runs in the opening inning.
But No. 1 Florida answered.
The top-ranked Gators scored two runs in the second frame before doubling their tally in the fourth, ultimately downing Miami 7-3 at Mark Light Field.
“The bottom line is our team’s young,” Miami coach Jim Morris said. “I think they’re going to get better and better. We could have won tonight, but the only way we’re going to prove we’re good is if we go out and start winning. These guys are capable of doing that.”
Redshirt senior Michael Perez belted his first career home run with a two-run blast after a leadoff double by Michael Burns. Later in the frame, redshirt freshman Michael Amditis drove in former Gator Danny Reyes with a two-out RBI single.
“Emotions are high when you’re playing a team in-state,” Perez said. “You have a lot of pride, and there’s a lot of history. You’re trying to make things happen.”
Then the defending national champions delivered.
Senior centerfielder Nick Horvath hit a two-run homer in the second frame to cut the deficit to 3-2. He then gave Florida the lead with a two-RBI double in the fourth inning.
The Gators tacked on another run in the following frame when senior catcher JJ Schwarz hit a solo shot to left field. Blake Reese closed the scoring for UF with a two-RBI single in the eighth inning.
Singer (2-0) surrendered three runs in the first inning but settled down soon after. The junior right-hander struck out four and gave up nine hits in five innings pitched.
Freshman right-hander Tommy Mace tossed four perfect innings in relief, earning his first career save.
Jeb Bargfeldt (1-1) struggled on the mound for Miami. The senior southpaw surrendered five runs on nine hits in six innings.
“Definitely not what I’m looking for,” Bargfeldt said about his performance. “I felt like I blew it … When I look in the mirror tonight, it’s going to be tough. The number one thing I wanted to do was just perform for my teammates. They went out and did their job, and I dropped the ball.”
Offensively, the Hurricanes left nine runners on base in the defeat.
“We’ve got a lot of talent,” Perez said. “But more guys need to take that opportunity and do something with it … We’re just missing those two-out hits or getting those runs that are on third base. Those are the important things, and we’re going to have to bear down and start doing it.”
The Hurricanes look to snap their three-game skid when they take on UF again in game two of the series at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Mark Light Field.